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The ’90s Revisited – Green Lantern Annual #1

90s_revisited

greenlantern_annual001Diamond Rings

Writer: Gerard Jones
Penciller: Andy Smith
Inks: John Beatty
Letters: Bob Lappan
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Editor: Kevin Dooley
Cover Date: 1992
Cover Price: $2.50
Published by: DC Comics

This issue sits weirdly with me right from the cover! Just the cover image alone is rather disturbing. We have the text "…In Blackest Day!" and a large silhouette of a rather sinister/creepy Eclipso…while Hal Jordan delivers one heckuva brutal punch to Star Sapphire, with visible blood flying off her face! There’s also a stylized "G" saying "No More Mister Nice Guy!" One would think from the G that it refers to Guy Gardner…but he is nowhere to be found on the cover! And especially as neither Hal nor Star Sapphire appear to actually BE "eclipsed," it just looks like a total abusive situation that seems flat-out disgusting to me before so much as opening the issue.

We open on a brief scene of Kilowog, John Stewart, and several other Lanterns training/bantering, before they take in some sort of warning that something is hunting Green Lanterns. Turning the page, we get a generic shot of Eclipso on his throne stating "I want Green Lantern." Continuing on we see the dark god is rather Orange Lantern-y 15-16 years before we had Orange Lanterns…he wants all GL has, period. We then see the eclipsed Starman in Times Square pass a black diamond around to cause some Eclipso-y mischief. Ultimately a black diamond makes its way to Guy Gardner who is still incredibly ticked-off at Hal and the GLs. Scene cuts to a scream coming from a house, and then Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) slamming a door open to find a sweating, terrified Carol Ferris, just awoken from a nightmare. We spend a number of pages of Carol conveying the nightmare to Jordan, in the process picking up that there’s a pretty traumatic history involving Star Sapphire as a personality/entity controlling her, maybe still IN her. As Carol goes back to sleep, Jordan muses on his always being "giving" and not getting back, with women in his life…Carol or Arisia. As he looks out a window, we find an eclipsed Guy Gardner stalking the hero. We switch to see Bruce Gordon and his crew on the hunt for this latest black diamond, and then back to Gardner, who does not meet Eclipso’s expectations. No ring, no powers…the villain wants those, not whatever Gardner is now. So he flicks the diamond to be found when Jordan emerges from the dwelling…but he’s so preoccupied he misses it.

Instead, coming out later herself, Carol finds it…and the diamond along with her anger and whatever involving the Sapphire lends itself to Eclipso eclipsing another super-powered individual in the now-twice-possessed Carol/Star Sapphire! As with gaining Rampage’s body in Superman: The Man of Steel Annual #1, Eclipso has a fight on his hands DESPITE eclipsing Carol…he wants Jordan alive, Star Sapphire wants him dead! And Eclipso, while possessing the body is compelled to initially act on the anger that gave him control in the first place. Eclipso/Sapphire unleash some destruction to draw Hal out, and then they fight a bit. "Starman" shows up to "help," but of course "betrays" Jordan, leading to his defeat and Sapphire’s victory…as Bruce Gordon & Crew show up and use a solar generator on Sapphire. This distracts, but doesn’t release her…and then the GL Corps show up, just to be interrupted–seemingly welcomely–by Hal leaping into action. It soon stands clear that he’s been Eclipsed, too, and by the two bodies–Jordan and Ferris–have played out their "revenge fantasies," Eclipso has full control! The GL Corps members attempt to take them on, but to no avail. As the powers of the GL ring and the sapphire cause an explosion, the GLs are knocked out. When they come to, there’s no sign of Jordon or the Sapphire…so they fly off in search and to notify others. We then see that Eclipso got the better of them as the two fly out from under the rubble and the villain prepares to "store" the bodies for later.

I’m not particularly familiar with this era of GL/GLCorps stuff. I’m loosely aware OF some stuff, but while I’ve read both Emerald Dawn minis and possibly the first arc of this iteration of the GL series, I mostly didn’t come to the "modern" GL stuff until a good year or so after this annual, with the Reign of the Supermen tie-in issue (#46 I believe) and then Emerald Twilight in #s 48-50. Other than the fact OF Carol having been or been possessed BY (the?) Star Sapphire(s?), I don’t think I’d really actually READ anything with that as a present-day status quo/issue prior to Johns’ run in the late "aughts" leading up to and during the Blackest Night event.

Here in this issue, I feel like the Hal/Carol thing comes off as rather contentious and bitter, though I could be reading too much into it. Add to that that we see Hal’s frustrations with stuff with Arisia (who I surely knew nothing about at the time these Annuals were being published) and the whole thing feels a BIT forced. Relevant to the story–Hal’s anger–but like we’re being TOLD a lot more than we’re being SHOWN.

The art’s not bad, though it doesn’t blow me away. It’s good stuff for ’90s GL, and doesn’t feel "off" the way the art in the Man of Steel Annual did; and with Jones on the writing this seems to fit into or play with "continuity" pretty well, rather than just being some "in-name-only" thing mashed against an ongoing series.

Perhaps it’s that this is a 30-year-old story now, and thus I have 30 years of "experience" with comics since then, but with 2022 hindsight this comes off a fairly contrived and forgettable, and though once upon a time I was flabbergasted that Hal Jordan could be seen as stale or boring and need to be moved off the board for the likes of Kyle Rayner, this particular issue’s "vibe" with me is that yeah, I wouldn’t be "sold" on GL stuff from this and I’m a bit hard-pressed to dig much deeper into GL or the series’ mythology on just what I got from this issue.

There’s also the fact that I’ve "sat on" this issue for nearly two weeks…having read it, which was well enough in and of itself…but I just didn’t have any particular desire to synopsize or write ABOUT the issue. As a blogger like this, undertaking this "personal reading project" OF reading all these Eclipso Annuals and writing about each issue as I go along, that’s a bit disheartening and has almost stalled me out 3 "real" chapters in! I do look forward to things picking up, but all the more of the sense that SOME annuals are going to prove far more important than others, possibly with a "core" throughline in a few and some being more "red sky crossover" type than particularly important to the main narrative. At somewhere over double-size but slightly less than triple-size, each annual here represents enough content for at least two issues’ tie-in, perhaps 3-4 with 2022-era "decompression." We get this single issue of the event touching the GL corner of the DCU directly, where present-day this would certainly be at least a 3-issue tie-in mini-series instead of "just" an Annual.

greenlantern_annual001_blogtrailer

Blackest Night #7 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 [Review]

Wonder Woman: Blackest Night
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Nicola Scott
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Cover: Greg Horn
Letters: Travis Lanham
Assoc. Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics

Wonder Woman marvels over the Love-Ring, witnesses the spreading destruction from the Black Lanterns and chats briefly with Carol Ferris about their differences as Star Sapphires, fights Mera, and when she tries to use her ring to help Mera, makes some sort of realization that hits close to the heart. The issue’s ending seems almost tacked-on, and directs us into the main Blackest Night series.

Story-wise, this continues to be more of a disappointment than not. Somehow, it’s feeling more like a “filler” story than anything else, with not much really happening. I don’t feel I have any new understanding of Wonder Woman/Diana coming out of this issue, and just as with the previous issue, this seems to take place in a very limited span of time–between Nekron commanding all those who’ve been resurrected withOUT rings to “Die” and the “reinforcement” rings seeking out “backup.” While there’s probably stuff here that’s much more compelling to longtime fans of Mera and Diana, any such content seems to have gone over my head reading by myself.

The art of this issue is good, on the whole…not much for complaint. The art certainly carries its weight providing the imagery of the story, showing Diana’s wonder at the ring, the two Star Sapphires soaring over the city, the Diana/Mera fight, and so on. My primary complaints are the Star Sapphire costumes, which seem overly “exposing”–but then, I suppose “lust” could be a form of “love”–and the double-page spread preceding Diana’s final conversing with Mera left me wondering what the significance was…but I’m not sure how much of that is the art not getting something across, or the story not getting it across (at the same time, just as likely to be me as a reader not “getting” something).

On the whole, not much about this to recommend except to those wanting light expansion on Wonder Woman’s being a short-term Star Sapphire. If you’re just following the Blackest Night series itself, this issue/mini really doesn’t seem to add anything to the main story.

Story: 4/10
Art: 7/10
Overall: 5/10

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Blackest Night #5 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Green Lantern #48 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Plastic Ring quest #4

And now the ‘ring quest’ is complete.  For many others who have also completed this set…it’s a goal poor Larfleeze–“Agent Orange”–will likely never get to do.

As I’ve said before, I think this is just about the coolest promotion for comics I’ve seen.

Of all the rings, of COURSE the coolest wound up being the Green Lantern ring. Because when you come right down to it–whether that first year or so following Kyle’s book, or that brief period after reading the Amalgam “Iron Lantern” issue when I was all the more interested in GL, to more recent years–it’s the “original” of the Corps.

Another thing that I wonder about is what other similar promotions could be done?  Including the year it came out (1991), next year (2010) will be 20 years OF The Infinity Gauntlet; 2011 obviously being the 20th “anniversary.”  How cool would it be to have something like this ring promotion for a re-issue of the original mini-series (6 gems, 6 issues…nice, no?).

Or sticking with DC: what about a Legion of Super-Heroes ring?  As with all these Lantern Corps rings…just change the color of plastic used and the little symbol on the top piece.  Such a ring could be tied to a special Legion issue or annual or issue of Adventure Comics or the like.

And what about a Flash ring?  Given Barry’s back, and I believe the Flash-costume-in-a-ring-for-easy-access was his thing…so why not use the red plastic again and put the lightning bolt on the top piece? And tie this, say, to the new Flash #1 by Johns.

Plastic Ring quest #3

Another week, two more rings.

This week’s rings were the blue and violet (or Star Sapphire). They came with Adventure Comics and Outsiders.

Amusingly enough, if you put ’em together, they look more blue and pink, almost as if they are something for kids.

With these rings, we’re left only missing the Green and Red rings…those are due next week, I believe.

Green Lantern #47 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Green Lantern #46 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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